MGM’s lead owner under pressure to do deal: WSJ

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s lead owner, hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, to do a deal involving James Bond’s home studio, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The person in the center of all this is Kevin Ulrich, head of Anchorage and chairman of MGM.

Anchorage is MGM’s largest owner. Anchorage had hoped that the release of No Time to Die would boost MGM’s value for a deal, the Journal said. But the newest delay in the 25th James Bond film has complicated the situation. Here’s an excerpt:

Some Anchorage clients have asked the hedge fund whether the perks and privileges that come with being a Hollywood chieftain have influenced Mr. Ulrich’s call to stay with MGM, the lengthiest and largest investment in Anchorage’s history. Other MGM investors have asked the same.

Ulrich declined to be interviewed by the Journal.

The Journal also said Ulrich has indicated he is working toward a deal and referenced Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Comcast Corp. (parent company of Universal, which is releasing No Time to Die internationally), and Facebook Inc. as possible buyers.

The financial news outlet also said CEO Gary Barber was fired in 2018 for holding “unsanctioned” talks with Apple. Barber was never replaced and MGM is governed by an “office of the chief executive.”

If the Journal’s reporting is accurate, No Time to Die is one of the main bargaining chips concerning MGM’s future. Another excerpt:

A person close to Anchorage said Mr. Ulrich believes MGM is a more-attractive asset because it hasn’t released “No Time to Die,” giving a buyer control over its launch and distribution.

If MGM were sold, Universal would need to be compensated, the Journal said. Presumably, that wouldn’t apply if Comcast were the buyer.

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